Wisconsin-guvernør Scott Walker (R) leder foreløpig den republikanske nominasjonskampen i Iowa med god margin. Ifølge RealClearPolitics gjennomsnittsmåling ligger Walker 8,5 prosentpoeng foran Marco Rubio (R-Florida), med 18,3 prosent mot Rubios 9,8 prosent i Iowa.
Walker er dermed også populær blant partiets donorer som håper at Walkers appell vil bidra til å bygge bro mellom den kristen-konservative fløyen og Tea Party-bevegelsen. For Walker ligger imidlertid utfordringen i å utvide sin sosialt konservative midtvest-plattform til den moderate delen av Det republikanske partiet.
He tells the crowds that he is both a “winner” and a “fighter” with a unique ability to unite the disparate wings of the Republican Party. The reception has been warm, and the checks have rolled in.
But the reaction to his likely candidacy has been notably cooler in another key venue, New York City, where Walker has struggled to make inroads among the powerful and monied financial community — in part because of his strident opposition to gay marriage and other positions on social issues. One billionaire hedge fund manager got into a long argument with Walker over same-sex marriage and then pulled his support because of it, according to a Republican familiar with the meeting.
The contrast highlights the central challenge facing Walker as he prepares to formally begin his campaign next month: how to expand his aw-shucks, socially conservative Midwestern appeal to the broader Republican Party and to the country as a whole. He has already stumbled several times because of his tendency to make off-the-cuff comments that quickly need clarification. And while he has successfully fought Democrats and unions in Wisconsin, running for president would mean fighting fellow Republicans — including some with more money and more experience on the national stage.